Jul 06, 2017 JAGANNATHA PURI, ORISSA
Close on the heels of alleged molestation of a group of women at Gundicha Temple in Puri, unidentified miscreants stole cash from a donation box from the shrine on Wednesday.
The Jagannath Temple administration had installed a total of three donation boxes in Gundicha Temple on June 27, the day the Deities were taken into its sanctum sanctorum during the nine-day car festival.
The shrine authorities were shocked to find one of the donation boxes broken on Wednesday. "When our officials and bank staff went there to count the donation amount, they found one box broken with cash missing. The exact amount stolen is not known. We will lodge complaint with police," temple's Public Relations Officer Laxmidhar Pujapanda said.
Temple authorities said every year they count the donation money two days after Bahuda. "Since Gundicha Temple was very rush, we could not count the cash since June 27. Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha ended on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Our authorities went to count the money on Wednesday," another temple official said.
Unlike Jagannath Temple, where the donation box is opened under CCTV glare, Gundicha Temple has no cameras. "We also suspect the theft might have occurred on the day of Bahuda Yatra. Since Gundicha Temple was absolutely empty after the departure of the Deities, miscreants might have taken advantage of the loneliness. No police personnel were present in the temple after departure of the Deities," the official said.
During Rath Yatra last year, the temple administration collected nearly Rs 6.37 lakh donation from Gundicha Temple. "We blame the police for the theft. For the first time during Rath Yatra, such an unpleasant incident occurred. The theft occurred despite massive police deployments in Puri," said Pradipta Mishra, a devotee.
On December 12, 2016, the temple administration suspended an employee on charges of stealing some cash from the shrine hundi (offertory box) near the sanctum sanctorum in Jagannath Temple.